After winning the Dirt Competition at the 2016 X Games, BMX rider Kevin Peraza will captain a team at this year’s Mongoose Jam, an annual BMX competition that features teams of pros and amateurs riding together. This year’s contest will be held August 1-5 at Woodward West in Tehachapi, CA. It will be different than in previous years, as teams will use the entire park to create a video rather than compete in live events.
Sports Illustrated Kids talked with Peraza about the Jam, which he’s won the past two years.
What’s your background with the Mongoose Jam?
This will be my fourth year doing a Mongoose Jam. The first year I was actually invited to be on Paul Ryan’s team, and that year they chose one rider for each discipline. And then the year after, I got on Mongoose and had the opportunity to pick my own team. We ended up getting second, then the year after that we won. Last year we came back to the Jam and my team won again. Going into this year’s, we’re excited and looking forward to it.
What are your thoughts on the switch from live competition to filming videos?
I think being able to do a video format at Woodward West is awesome. It takes the pressure off from every rider. It also builds a different team because when we did the contest one, I was looking for contest riders. Now I’m looking for guys that just like having fun filming. It’ll be a completely different list of dudes. I think it’s cool. We get to pick two guys and a filmer. We can almost be more creative with our riding during filming than during a contest. Now that I’m filming, I want to get creative and do fun stuff that’ll take more than a few tries, which you can’t really do in a contest.
Why is Woodward West the right place for the Jam?
The facilities are unreal. As far as everything training-wise, they have it all there. Everything’s well built, super conditioned, super clean. There’s pretty much everything to ride: park, trails, you’ve got a foam pit. The camp vibe’s awesome, as well. It’s a second home for all us riders. We all pretty much live there on our off time training or just having fun. I go every summer just to go and have a good time with all the campers.
What will you be looking for in the amateurs?
We’re going to be looking for creativity and style, kids who are just having a good time. I’m trying to make a video that people are going to enjoy. If you’re going to watch a video and you can tell that the campers or riders are having a good time, you can vibe off of that and enjoy it as well. We don’t have favorites, but I’ll definitely be looking for the one having fun. That’s my motto: If you’re not enjoying something that you’re doing, then don’t do it.
Do you have any special tricks up your sleeve?
The couple of times that I’ve been there I’ve ridden some obstacles that I really enjoy that I haven’t actually given my full potential on. I feel like if I were to have the camera on me and on the spot, I would want to do something fun and special for myself on the setup. There’s a couple of things that I’ve been brainstorming where I’m like, “Oh that would’ve worked, and if I do that I can also do this, and if I get someone on my team they could probably do this.” When I’ve gone to camp I’ve seen kids do things and it’s given me ideas to try later on. Usually it’s all brainstorming in the end.